Friday, October 30, 2009

Last Day in Guiyang

Well today is our last day in Guiyang- we fly out to Guanzhou later this afternoon.  This morning, we awoke to the sound of fireworks going off @ 6:30am outside of our hotel window!!

I am sad to be leaving the only place Zach has some ways, it feels like we are leaving a part of him here. But I am looking forward to being in Guangzhou at the White Swan Hotel w/ the other Great Wall families and one step closer to coming home again- or at least back to not living life out of a suitcase.

Yesterday, we ventured down the street from the hotel and found a university campus that has a beautiful open space.  A lot of grandparents also walk around there w/ their grandkids.  Today, when we were there, several people approached us with their kids to practice their English.  One woman asked if we were foreign teacher!  They handed XiXi and Zach fruit and spoke to them in Chinese.  It was really cute.

We went back to the restaurant we ate at the other nite- the one that our guide wrote us out a menu- the server brought 3 sets of silverware and 2 sets of chopsticks, which she placed in front of Zach and XiXi.  Clearly she thought the Chinese kids would use the chopsicks and the lao wei (foreigners) would use the silver- when we put the chopsicks on our plates, she came back and put them back on XiXi and Zach's. LOL

Today we saw more of Zach's mischevious side!  He actually let me put his clothes on him this morning and let me tickle him a few times.  I have caught him smiling at me too.

Zai Jian Guiyang!




Thursday, October 29, 2009

Jie Jie and Di Di

After having Zach in our family for almost 5 days, we are finally starting to see him warm up to his Jie Jie (big sister).

Today they have been playing a modified version of hide and seek in the elevator lobby/stairwell- Ross and Zach hide in the stairwell and XiXi comes to look for them.  This produces a lot of laughs.

This afternoon, we introduced Zach to the movie, Cars.  Being that his favorite toy is his wind-up car, it is no surprise that he was instantly hooked on the movie.  During the movie, he and XiXi would make funny faces at each other- too cute.  I was able to sneak a few good pics of them...

Currently they are on an elevator adventure with BaBa!

more later...





Wednesday, October 28, 2009

More photos!


Day 3 with Zach!

It's nap time again! Hard to believe we have had Cao Fu Hai for almost 3 days now...

Here are some fun things we are discovering about him

1) he can feed himself with a spoon, fork AND chopsticks!
2) he loves kicking a ball
3) he puts things away after he uses them (future Montessori kid!)
4) he LOVES to sing- in fact, he sings all the time!  totally cute!
5) he likes to be helpful- he brings us our shoes after we put his on, puts things in the fridge, and hands us kleenex.
6) he HATES taking a bath and getting his teeth brushed- last nite I told him, "gan jing ya chi" (clean your teeth) and he got upset (he knew EXACTLY what I was saying!)

Last night we ventured across the street to a restaurant our guide recommended to us- she wrote out items for us to order- which we gave the servers- we had Kung Pao chicken (which originated here Guizhou), sweet dumplings, a pork dish, some vegetables, and steamed egg for Fu Hai.  The local food here is spicy- but good!

Today we toured another famous Guiyang landmark- Jia Xiu Lou- and then went to a government run museum and store to buy some gifts for Zach from his province.

XiXi continues to be a trooper- yesterday at the monkey park, she had a terrible episode of diarrhea and managed to hang in there with the sub-par squatties!!!  More than I could have done!  She is loving her little brother!

My sister, Jennie, has been a HUGE help- can't even begin to describe how amazing it has been having her along!

Gotta go- someone just woke up!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tuesday Update

Well, it's nap time here-

This morning we went to the Famous "Monkey Park"- a very popular place for people here in Guiyang- it is HUGE- a big lake (where we actually saw people swimming in the 15C water!)

One of the most popular attractions is the monkeys that roam around- playing and eating out of the hands of the local "feeders"- our guide told us that each feeder knows a few monkeys and has a name for each of them.  You can hear the feeders calling out for the monkeys to come and get food!)  we were standing less than 5 feet away from these wild monkeys- cool and scary at the same time!

The ride to and from the park was like something out of National Geographic Explorer- it was best @ times not to look at where we going!  We have seen some very interesting parts of the city.

Zach is doing better- some of you have asked about his palate and eating- he seems to eat pretty well- nothing out of his nose yet- he drinks from a bottle (formula) in the morning and before bed- he is very particular about that!  He can also drink out of a plastic water bottle and he can screw and unscrew the lid all by himself!  He loves noodles, eggs, fruit, and veggies- and of course- chinese snacks!

He still strongly favors BaBa over MaMa, but I have caught a few smiles in my direction!  He has a little backpack that he is insistent on carrying everywhere- w/ an attached balloon!  Yesterday, we went to Wal-Mart and bought him a new pair of shoes- little did we know they were squeaky shoes! (anyone who has adopted from China can understand the angst between the lines here!).  He loves them, of course, so it will likely be a while before we can sneak out the squeaks!

XiXi is taking everything in stride- a great helper for her DiDi- and has been an adventurous eater as well.  More later...



Monday, October 26, 2009

Here he is!!!!!!!

Hey Guys:

Sorry it has taken us so long to post anything- the last few days have been a bit of a blur.  So the long and short of it:

We are in Guiyang
We got Zach (Cao Fu Hai as he is used to being called) late Sunday afternoon.
We got to meet his foster mother (more crazy and amazing stories about this when we are stateside).
The adoption is finalized- he is officially a BLAUWKAMP!
There have been a lot of tears and favoring of BaBa over MaMa and Jie Jie.
The first nite, he scribbled on a pad of paper for 2 hours as his way of coping/grieving (sniff)
He has a great personality- very smart and STUBBORN!

ok- if you read all of that w/out first looking at the pics, you get a prize!

Here are a few pics!  ENJOY!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

P is for Pandas!

Today's Adventure: The Beijing Zoo!

2 Trains- 7 Stops on the Beijing Subway..

Pictures, Pictures!

XiXi catching a nap on our suitcases at JFK

A drink from Starbucks at the airport in Seoul

 The Birds' Nest

XiXi getting her hair done at the restaurant.

Tiger Dumplings!

"Swimming" at the Water Cube.

First Full day in China!

Thursday, October 23
7:42 am China Time

Well- we made it thru our almost 24 hours in China! woo hoo!

After some well needed showers- we headed out to explore Beijing!

Since our friend, Kristalyn, is fluent in Mandarin, we feel a bit more adventurous to explore the city...

Adventure for October 22- BEIJING SUBWAY SYSTEM!
For about 35 cents, you can ride the subway one- way anywhere in Beijing.  The subway stations are clean and over 50% of them were built just for the Olympics (as are a lot of  new things here in Beijing- many more new skyscrapers, fewer cranes, fewer bikes and more cars since were here in 2005!)

So- 4 trains and about 10 stops from our hotel is the Olympic Park.  It was amazing!  The Bird's Nest is unbelievable- as was the water cube- and everything.  Words can't do it justice (as with most things here!

We were approached by about a dozen people, who were all selling the same little paper Olympic kites, asking us to buy one.  We would say, "Bu yao" (no!) and they would follow us and say in Mandarin, "why not- what kind of parent are you not buying one for your pretty daughter?!"  lol

From the Olympic Park- we took a taxi to our friends, Chris and Paige's, apartment.  At this point XiXi was fading and we desperately tried to keep her awake- not a pretty site. She perked up by the time we arrived at Chris and Paige's place and within 10 minutes, she and Stella (their 5 year old daughter) were laughing and running around.

We went to this FABULOUS dumpling restaurant for dinner.  While we were waiting for our food, one of the wait staff came out with a comb, a mirror, and a bag of hair accessories and did the girls' hair.  Cute Chinese Girl's Hairstlyes.  They looked ADORABLE!

The dumplings were AMAZING!  Some of skins were dyed different colors- they used broth from boiling different vegetables as the dye! We had green, purple and yellow (RAVENS!), purple, yellow, orange- and the traditional plain colored ones too.  I have no idea what was in most of them- but they were all good (esp. the orange ones that had shrimp and cucumber in them!)

XiXi fell asleep on the cab ride home- her last words before zonking out were, "I'm so glad I'm back in China!"  Too cute!

We all slept well last nite- despite the VERY hard beds (a luxury in china!).  We're all feeling much better this morning.  As I type this-Jennie and XiXi are still asleep in their room!

Today we are heading out to either the Summer Palace or the Beijing Zoo- and later we will head to Chris, Paige, and Stella's place.  XiXi has been invited to a playdate @ Stella's apartment this afternoon.


Quotes overheard by XiXi yesterday:
(upon arriving at the Beijing airport) "Welcome to the country of my birth!"

(to us as we were riding to the hotel after Ross and I were commenting on the changes made since we were last here) "Well- I remember EVERYTHING about China from when I was a baby too.  And yeah- I even remember Beijing"
Ross: "XiXi, you were never in Beijing."
XiXi: (laughs) "yeah- ok- so I still remember stuff about the country of my birth!"

Cutest quote of the day: "I'm so glad to be back in China!"
Well said, XiXi!  So are we!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

We're in Beijing!

Hi everyone!

We arrived in beijing at 10:27 am China time after traveling for almost 30 hours.  We made it thru the quarentine testing and immigration without a problem!  And all our luggage made it too!  woo hoo!  Our guide met us at the airport and took us to our hotel.

Our friend, kristalyn, met us at the hotel and we had a fabulous meal for $7.50 for 5 of us!

XiXi did great on the plane- she slept most of the time and seems to have adjusted well to the 12-hour time zone change.  I did not sleep well on the flight from JFK to Incheon- crashed during our layover- and am doing ok now.

We are all showering and heading off to the Olympic Park before meeting our friends, Chris and Paige, and their daughter, Stella, for dinner.  Will post pics later!

Monday, October 19, 2009


Sorry it has been so long since my last post!

this past week has been CRAZY!  we found out on Thursday that we are leaving for China tomorrow (october 20) and are getting Zach on the 25th.  There is so much more in between these last two lines that I will spare you of right now.  Suffice it to say- this past week has been CRAZY!

We booked our tickets for $900 each (and less!) - have our bags packed, documents double checked, passports ready, cash in hand- we're all set!

Here's an abbreviated schedule:

October 20-22: Fly to Beijing- leave Reagan National at 4:20pm on Tuesday- arrive in Beijing at 9:40am on Thursday morning

October 22-23: hang out in Beijing with our friends Kristalyn Omland and Chris Hickey and Paige Snider (and their 5 year old daughter, Stella!)

October 24: Tour Beijing with the other Great Wall Families- Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, and the Forbidden City

October 25- fly to Guiyang the morning- meet ZACH @ 4:30pm!

October 25-30: stay in Guiyang- sight seeing, bonding with Zach, finalizing the adoption

October 30- Fly to Guangzhou

November 4- Consolate Appointment

November 6- get Zach's Visa

November 7- leave Guangzhou- arrive back @ Reagan National @ 11:44pm

my sweet friend, Jen VeStrand, will be updating my blog while we're in country-


Friday, October 2, 2009


This has been a BIG week in the Blauwkamp house...

1) we sent a care package to Zach and his foster parents using Red Thread China Care Packages service.

(This was actually our 2nd care package- I won a care package with Blessed Kids which included a stuffed toy, outfit, camera, treats, a book, letter and questions for the caretakers.  This was sent off a few weeks ago.)

Our Red Thread China care package included a photo album with pictures, a letter, mooncakes and tea.
Ann, who works with Red Thread sent us this picture of our care package- pretty cool!  take a peek!

2) On Wednesday- we received the following photos from Ann of Zach- AND updated measurements!  woo hoo!

I just cried tears of joy when I saw these pictures!

3) and if that wasn't enough excitement for us on Wednesday- we also got our TRAVEL APPROVAL!

WOO HOO!  we're almost there!

more to come as we know it!